Reid and JJ stood in the middle of the bullpen, quietly talking. They noticed Rossi come in and immediately head to his office. JJ looked on after him in concern, and took a step to go to him but Spencer's gentle hand caught her arm. She looked up at him and for a brief second she saw every bit of pain still present in his eyes from his own loss.
"He knows," she thought. "He knows what Rossi feels." The realization made her want to put her arms around him right there.
She moved next to Spencer and reached for his hand. He squeezed hers briefly, averting his eyes and dropping it just as quickly.
"Coffee?" he offered, "It's on me." He flattened his lips together, then pursed them out, still avoiding her gaze.
She knew that look. She put her palm against his back and gave him a little push to the break room. "Okay big spender, you're on."
JJ sat at the table in the break room, and Spencer set her mug in front of her, the coffee in it exactly to her liking. She smiled and looked up at him, his lanky frame leaning against the counter.
"What, you think I don't know how you take it after all this time?" he said.
"Well I could've changed my mind, you know." She teased back.
"Doubtful. Once people settle on a style of coffee, only 16% alter that style within 5 years of making the choice, oftentimes longer than that. Humans are creatures of habit."
"And you know this because…?"
He took a sip from his own cup, his eyes darting to the side and said "I'm a human."
JJ shook her head and laughed, looking down. "You're sure about that?"
Spencer smiled back at her. "Quite sure."
JJ was aware that he was deflecting. Attempting to make her laugh so she wouldn't make a big deal out of his pain.
"Please don't bring up Maeve, please don't…", he thought.
She'd known him long enough to know when he didn't want to talk about something. Spencer was a pretty private man, sharing only what he wanted, when he wanted. She respected that now and changed the direction of her conversation. "So, Henry's been asking about you."
"Oh?" His face lighting up at the mention of his godson.
"Mmm-hmm. I told him you'd come see him soon. Gonna make a liar out of me?"
Spencer set his cup down. "Well, when should I come by?" he asked, folding his arms in front of himself.
"How about tonight? I don't know about Henry but after yesterday I could really use some family time," she said.
JJ was no stranger to loss herself, he knew. First her sister, and then Will, albeit both for different reasons. He looked at her, seeing her strength, her compassion, and admiration and respect warmed his chest. He felt something else too, and when she smiled up at him he caught his breath.
"You got ice cream?" he said, covering.
"Always. Butter Pecan."
"I'll be there by eight."
"See you then."
She got up and left the break room and he watched her go, enjoying the way her long, soft hair swung against her back and – what was he doing? He shook his head to center his thoughts. He squared his shoulders, cleared his throat, and went to his desk to collect his things.
Spencer stood at her door, fidgeting. He reached out and pushed the doorbell, and noticed his hand trembling a little. What the hell was all this about? He couldn't understand why he felt so self-conscious about coming to see JJ tonight! This was his dear friend, his –
She opened the door and smiled her prettiest at him and he caught his breath for the second time that day. He placed a hand on his stomach as he felt it do a little flip. He hadn't felt this way around JJ in years. What was the matter with him? "I'm just lonely," he told himself. "Snap out of it."
He smiled back at her, no slouch himself in that department, and was surprised to see her cheeks redden a bit as she looked down.
"Hey Spence," she said softly. "Right on time."
"Yeah, yeah!" he said, reaching his hand to the small of her back as they turned to go inside. "I left a little early and it's a good thing I did, too. There was a big pileup on the expressway and… what's that smell? He sniffed the air appreciatively. "Did you cook?"
She laughed at his obvious disbelief, and feigned insult. "Hey!" She swatted his arm. "I've mastered a few things, you know! Thought you might like to try my chicken parmesan."
"I dunno, not sure I want to put my life on the line like that. I've had your cooking," he teased.
"Fine. Your loss."
"I'm totally kidding. It smells wonderful."
They looked at each other, smiling, and it seemed that neither one of them wanted to break eye contact. Henry chose that moment to come flying into the room, crashing into his Uncle Spencer's legs and wrapping his arms around his knees. JJ reached out an arm to help stabilize, familiar with the routine, and Spencer pretended to be knocked down by the little boy he loved so much.
"Whoa, Henry! Caught me by surprise that time!" He said, lifting the child to his lap and catching him in a warm hug.
"I miss you, Uncle Spence!" he said, his small voice muffled against Spencer's sweater vest.
"I miss you too, very much. So here I am!"
"Yay! Let's eat!" the boy shouted, throwing his arms into the air.
Spencer copied his gesture and said "Yay! I'm starving!"
"You've already had yours, Henry. You sure you want more?" JJ said, shaking her head.
"It's good, mommy."
"Can I help?" Spencer asked.
"Sure," JJ said. You know where the plates are."
Spencer stood, wiping his hands on his pants. "C'mon Henry, can you get the forks?"
In reply, his godson sprang up and ran into the kitchen.
JJ looked at Spencer, sliding her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. "I'd say he's excited you're here."
"Aw, it hasn't been that long, has it?"
Spencer couldn't help himself. He reached over and tucked a stray lock of her hair behind her ear. Her gaze held his the entire time, unwavering, and he said, "I'm sorry, I just..."
She closed her eyes and rubbed her cheek against his hand. "I know."
They moved as one to put their arms around each other's waists and headed for the kitchen, JJ leaning her head on his shoulder as they walked. After the sad events of the past few days, months really, it felt nice to take comfort in each other's closeness.
"Be better." she said.